Thank you, Athens

Thank you, Athens

A thank you note to my favorite little town

I grew up in a town whose population was almost half of the total enrollment of the University of Georgia. The size of my high school graduating class makes up a whopping .7% of the total number of students I'll be graduating with in 2019. And while these numbers hung over my head as I started school at UGA, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace about going to school here.

Athens, Georgia: a college town with a high poverty level and above-average music scene. I knew I was going to enjoy the four years I would spend at school here, but I never knew how much of an impact this place would have on my life. And as the Thanksgiving season is coming to an end, I figured it was time I gave thanks for this new home of mine.

So, thank you, Athens, for:

... giving me a newfound sense of adventure. I find myself wanting to spend every ounce of my free time exploring. Whether it's the Pulaski swing, a random flower field, the Iron Horse, the Tree Room, or the Train Trestle, Athens always finds a way to broaden my sense of adventure (and rid me of my fear of heights).

... showing me how sweet friendships can be. Never in a million years would I have expected to have the friends that I have. They hold me accountable, encourage me, and challenge me to grow deeper in my faith and to be the best version of myself. Athens has brought me the greatest people!!! Wow, I could go on about them forever, but I don't have that kind of time.

... giving me the confidence to stop being a follower and start being a leader. My time in high school was spent trying to be like everyone else. My freshman year was filled with nights of doing what everyone else was doing and mornings of regretting every second of it. I never expected myself to have the courage and confidence to start being ME, not who everyone else wanted me to be.

... letting me fail. In high school, I excelled in sports, music, and academics. I don't think I experienced much failure then. However, college is a whole different story. I learned that B's are still good, and it's okay to not be the best at everything. School is hard! Life is hard! I can't succeed in everything.

... becoming my new home. Going back home to see my family is so sweet and special, but it's weird now. I love Athens. I feel at home here, and I never want to leave! It's crazy how quickly this place has become everything I could have ever asked for.

So, Athens, thank you. Thank you for making the past year and a half better, sweeter, and fuller than I could've ever imagined. You've exceeded my expectations and have proven to be the best thing that's happened to me. I'm so thankful for the time I've gotten to spend here and for the time I have left. Athens, I love you!

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To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...


Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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I Asked 20 Women To Give Advice To Their 13-Year-Old Selves And Their Responses Were Beautiful

Confidence goes a long way...and I wish I learned that sooner.


Do you remember what it was like to be 13-years-old? More likely than not, it probably wasn't the best year of your life. I'm sure you wish you had someone to feed you all the advice that you've learned as you grew older

I asked 20 beautiful, brave, resilient and intelligent women what advice would they give their 13-year-old selves. This is their advice.


"You are broken but incredibly beloved, and Jesus is so faithful and so worth following!"


"You can't stop the clock. You won't be 13 forever. Start now to make choices that future you would be proud of."


"You will lose friends and it will hurt you, but you will be okay and God will still be good"


"Don't worry about pleasing others. Do what makes you happy. Love yourself first."


"Life definitely gets better, everything happens for a reason, and don't take everything so seriously. The best things are yet to come."


"Listen more, speak less. God has a very unique and perfect plan for you. And you will never be able to predict- so don't even try."


When you forget your worth don't compromise yourself for fleeting affirmation. Be it in a friendship or in a dating relationship."


"Own the things you love and know there is worth in the words you say and the thoughts you have."


"You're not lesser of a kid because you don't own brand name clothes. It's not about what you own or the cool stuff that you have that defines your value. Being weird will soon become your best quality, it's your corky fun, "I could careless what you think of me" personality that will soon draw people towards you."


"Life is precious, so approach each day with confidence, grace and strength. Also, love yourself passionately, never forgetting the beauty God created you to possess."


"Participate in activities at school! Audition for the play, and don't let your fear of failure hold you back! "


"You are worth so much more. God Loves you and you are good enough for Him. Don't forget that."


"Do not worry about your weight! It's just a number and shouldn't be your main focus! As you grow your weight shift, it changes throughout the day which is totally normal, and it shouldn't be the biggest stressor in your life at 13 years old."


"Be proud of your physical features that make you unique because everyone is different and self expression shouldn't be suppressed due to insecurities"


"Try and be confident in yourself. Confidence goes a long way."


"The grace of God is so much bigger than you can ever imagine."


"Your worth does not lie in the opinions and words of your friends. Find someone who is older and wiser to speak truth into your life."


"The woman you're becoming will cost you people, relationships, spaces and material things. Choose her over everything."


"Always be open to learning and growing. Be kind. Smile more."


"It's okay to listen to all your friend's moms that you hang around with, who are always teaching you and sharing with you and giving you good advice. It's okay not to do the things the older girls get into. It's okay to be brave and walk away and not worry about what the 15 and 16-year-old girls think of you. It is good that you love hanging around your mom and dad and that you respect them too. Lastly, it is okay to be who God made you to be. It's okay to be you."

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